Latinos Learning English Faster Than Other Immigrant Groups


An important part of the immigration reform debate is whether learning English should be a requirement for any undocumented immigrant who wishes to apply for citizenship. However, Hispanics appear to be learning English at a rapid pace, according to
The report compared Hispanics’ rate of adapting to English to that of other groups.
Joseph Salmons, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Miranda E. Wilkerson, of Columbia College, reviewed the census  data of English-speaking German immigrants in the U.S. during the 19th century. The data confirmed that 35 percent of the second-generation German population spoke only German. In high contrast, 92 percent of second-generation Latino immigrants, and 96 percent of the third, speak English “very well/pretty well.” The figures include 82 percent bilingual speakers in the second generation.
Salmons, who studies language acquisition in immigrant communities, said, “I challenge anybody to show me a third generation person in this country who speaks Spanish and no English, whereas we can find in the Census records, we can find those people in German speaking communities.”
Based on the results, researchers claimed that Hispanic immigrants being “slow” to assimilate in American society is a false perception. Hispanics adapt just like every other group of immigrants across generations, the report said.
Researchers went on to say that it would be unnecessary to add more requirements for English proficiency in the immigration reform bill because the current education system has already proven itself effective in providing English education.